Howard E. Harker, 87, of Sturgis, of Sturgis, passed away early Monday evening, April 23, 2012, at his home.
He was born Aug. 8, 1924, in Sturgis, a son of the late William Cloyce and Gladys (Krontz) Harker.
Howard was a lifelong resident of Sturgis. On Dec. 27, 1945, he married Dorothy Westfall at Sturgis Church of the Nazarene in Sturgis.
For many years he worked at RC Cola and Blue Ribbon Ice Cream in Sturgis until both businesses closed. At that time, he joined Owens Classic in Sturgis, working as a forklift driver until his retirement.
Following his retirement, he established Harker Lawn Service in Sturgis, a business that continues today under the operation of his son Brent.
Howard was a longtime, active, dedicated member of Sturgis Missionary Church in Sturgis and also was a member of the Super 60s.
He was a veteran of the U.S. Army, serving from April 24, 1943-Dec. 10, 1945, with the 527th Ordinance Company during World War II, earning the rank of Tec 4. He was awarded the EAME Theater Ribbon, Asiatic Pacific Theater Ribbon with two Bronze Stars, Good Conduct Ribbon and the World War II Victory Medal.
He enjoyed snowmobiling, fishing, camping and traveling, especially his and Dorothy’s trip to Hawaii. What made Howard happiest was time spent with his family, especially his grandchildren.
He is survived by his loving and dedicated wife of 66 years, Dorothy; a daughter, Darlene (John) Tate of Sturgis; a son, Brent Harker of Sturgis; 11 grandchildren, Tammy (Jason) Cain, Terra (Paul) Draper, Kelly Gilbert, Travis Harker, Tony Harker, Kara Harker, Cameron Harker, McKenna Harker, Tim (Sally) Harker, Bob (Valerie) Harker and David (Mandy) Harker; 15 great-grandchildren; a brother, Virgil (Sharon) Harker of Sturgis; and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; a son, Douglas Harker; three brothers, Paul Harker, James Harker and Willard Harker; and three sisters, Lois Sheffer, Barbara Harker and Marjorie Harker.
The family will receive friends from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. Thursday at Hackman Family Funeral Homes — Hackman Chapel, 114 S. Nottawa St., Sturgis.
Funeral services celebrating the life of Howard E. Harker will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at Sturgis Missionary Church, 67087 N. M-66 in Sturgis. Tim Harker, grandson of Mr. Harker, and the Rev. Robert Renner will officiate.
A graveside committal will follow the service at Oak Lawn Cemetery in Sturgis, where full military honors will be conferred by Captain John J. Kelley Post #1355 VFW and the U.S. Army Honor Guard.
The family suggests those wishing to make a memorial donation in Mr. Harker’s memory consider Sturgis Missionary Church, 67087 N. M-66, Sturgis, MI 49091.
His obituary is also at www.hackmanfamilyfuneralhome.com, where personal messages of support may be left for the family.